5 Organizations That Support And Empower Native Americans

When Europeans began claiming the American continent as their own, they displaced and killed the people who had already been living there for centuries. Today, Native Americans continue to face discrimination, violence, and disenfranchisement. That's why organizations like the ones listed here work to address these problems and lay the groundwork for a brighter future. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups Working To Make Life Better For Native Americans

Organization Mission
First Peoples Fund Honor and support the Collective Spirit of First Peoples artists and culture bearers
Native Americans in Philanthropy Promote equitable and effective philanthropy in Native communities
Amizade Inspire empathy, catalyze social action, and link diverse communities through Fair Trade Learning
Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women Stop violence against Native women and children by advocating for social change
UNITY Foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement

5 Issues Faced By Native Americans Today

In the aftermath of a long history of abuse and genocide, there are many issues that continue to affect Native communities in the present day. Here are just a few:

  1. Racial discrimination in the workforce as well as in everyday social interactions
  2. Crime on reservations, which is often treated as lower priority by the FBI and federal prosecutors
  3. Historical trauma from the effects of colonization, forced relocation, and assimilation
  4. Exploitation of natural resources such as oil and natural gas on native lands
  5. Violence against women and children, which is often perpetrated by non-Native people, making the crimes harder to prosecute

Native North American Languages

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 300,000 speakers of Native North American languages in the United States, as of 2010. Here are a few of the most common Native North American languages spoken today:

  • Navajo
  • Yupik
  • Dakota
  • Apache
  • Keres
  • Cherokee
  • Choctaw
  • Zuni
  • Ojibwa
  • Pima
  • Inupik
  • Hopi
  • Tewa
  • Muskogee
  • Crow
  • Shoshoni
  • Cheyenne
  • Eskimo
  • Tiwa

6 Misconceptions About Native American People

In Depth

After suffering centuries of displacement and genocide, Native Americans today continue to face threats of violence, federal discrimination, and disenfranchisement. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations that make it their mission to put an end to this, providing wide-ranging social, cultural, and economic support to uplift the nation's myriad Indigenous populations. Working to preserve ancestral traditions, redress inequity, and campaign for structural change, here are, in no particular order, five essential groups empowering Native American communities everywhere.

For #1 we have First Peoples Fund. Grounded in traditional values of wisdom, strength, and respect, this South Dakota-based organization works to honor and sustain Native American culture through entrepreneurial projects and community development programs. With a belief in the power of art to enrich lives and instigate change, it offers comprehensive support to Native artists so that they may spread their creative inspiration and knowledge throughout their communities. The organization operates by awarding grants and fellowships, providing technical assistance and training, and collaborating with individuals and groups all across Indian Country.

Emphasizing youth empowerment, collective development, and ancestral knowledge, the programs offered by First Peoples Fund all work to bolster Indigenous culture. Lasting one year each, the Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital fellowships are designed to enhance the careers and social impact of Native artists. Made for both burgeoning and experienced creators, professional development trainings give participants tools to become thriving entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, Dances with Words helps young people grow into community leaders by engaging them in literary and oral traditions. Make a contribution by giving to one of the group's campaigns online.

Emphasizing youth empowerment, collective development, and ancestral knowledge, the programs offered by First Peoples Fund all work to bolster Indigenous culture.

Coming in at #2 is Native Americans in Philanthropy, a membership organization that invests in inclusive philanthropic initiatives to help build sustainable, resilient Native communities. Encompassing a network of nonprofits, foundations, and tribal groups, it makes its impact through a combination of educational programming, civic engagement, and advocacy campaigns, as well as through research and development. Committed to facilitating a movement founded on leadership, responsibility, and justice, NAP ultimately aims to restore all Indigenous communities to full health and cultural prosperity.

Significant to NAP's civic engagement efforts are its convenings, which give people opportunities to converse with community members, tribal funders, and nonprofits. Also crucial are its trainings and webinars, which provide philanthropic professionals with skills and resources to incorporate Indigenous perspectives in their work, as well as the tools necessary to build Native-based networks. The organization's advocacy initiatives, meanwhile, include campaigns that fight on behalf of Indigenous youth and women, while a grant-making partnership supports various civil projects. Get involved by joining NAP's membership circle, and receive program discounts.

For #3 we get Amizade, which seeks to galvanize social change by connecting diverse populations across the globe. Through innovative partnerships and volunteer services on four continents, it develops empowering and sustainable projects designed to foster strong, productive cross-cultural relationships. Most pertinently, it partners with the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, Arizona, where it provides civil services in areas relating to health and wellness, youth education, food and clothes banks, the environment, and more.

Through innovative partnerships and volunteer services on four continents, it develops empowering and sustainable projects designed to foster strong, productive cross-cultural relationships.

During their stay in Arizona, Amizade volunteers are supplied with sundry opportunities to learn about and experience Navajo culture. Some of these take the form of recreational activities, such as basket-weaving, hiking, traditional food sampling, and visits to museums, markets, and national landmarks. Other opportunities involve service projects with local partners such as high schools, administrative centers, and social support-focused nonprofits. Volunteers in these places help out with everything from organizing donated goods to facility maintenance and clean-up. Send a contribution through Amizade's site to help sustain this vital collaboration.

At #4 is the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. Founded in 1996, C.S.V.A.N.W. utilizes professional support, training, and policy advocacy with the goal of eradicating violence directed at Native women and children. The coalition focuses its efforts on specific, urgent issues such as sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, bullying, and domestic violence, and implements dynamic strategies that work to quell these threats within tribal communities. It also takes part in constructive collaborations to develop legislation at local, state, and federal levels, as well as to create policies that promote safe, responsive solutions to abusive situations.

Devoted to community-based social justice, C.S.V.A.N.W. initiates outreach, raises awareness, and makes sure that Indigenous people have a say in the decision-making processes that affect their lives. Central to this are training, education, and technical assistance programs, which give support to those working in the domestic violence field. Created to positively shape future generations, a series of Native youth initiatives help nurture socially engaged kids and young adults. The coalition also partners with task forces and committees, ensuring that its policy advocacy is benefiting those in need. Donate through the group's site to help break the cycle of violence.

The coalition also partners with task forces and committees, ensuring that its policy advocacy is benefiting those in need.

Finally, for #5 we arrive at UNITY, which strives to cultivate the mental, physical, and social development of Native American youth. It carries out this mission through a host of programs, events, and civic initiatives, all of which are made to empower and teach young people how to act as positive advocates and leaders in their communities. To broaden its impact, the organization encourages the formation of affiliate youth councils, which engage in activities pertaining to cultural heritage, healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness, and civil services.

Among UNITY's signature events is its national conference, which unites Native youth from across the country for five days of presentations, workshops, and skill-building and leadership training. A midyear conference, meanwhile, includes talks, exhibitions, film screenings, and physical fitness activities. Also significant is the group's peer guide program, which trains young people to become leaders in juvenile justice and delinquency prevention efforts. To support UNITY, send the organization something from its wish list, such as office or cleaning supplies.